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Mallikarjun Kharge Tried to Manipulate CBI Chief's Selection Criteria, Alleges MoS Jitendra Singh

The minister said Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who is part of the committee along with Modi and Kharge, fully endorsed the objective criteria applied for selecting the head of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

PTI

Updated:February 2, 2019, 10:28 PM IST
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Mallikarjun Kharge Tried to Manipulate CBI Chief's Selection Criteria, Alleges MoS Jitendra Singh
Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh.
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New Delhi: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is a member of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led panel, tried to "manipulate" the criteria for selection of CBI chief with the ulterior motive of accommodating officers of his choice in the short-list of candidates, Union Minister Jitendra Singh claimed on Saturday.

He also hit out at Kharge for "giving his own version" of the panel's deliberations to the media.

"Kharge tried to manipulate the objective criteria, based on independent and impartial assessment, to select CBI Director...He wanted to include some officers of his preference in the short-list of candidates," Singh, the Union minister of state for personnel, said.

The minister said Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who is part of the committee along with Modi and Kharge, fully endorsed the objective criteria applied for selecting the head of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Earlier in the day, the government named former Madhya Pradesh Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla as the CBI Director in place of Alok Kumar Verma, who was removed from the post by the panel on January 10.

Singh, whose ministry is the nodal department for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said the CBI Director's selection was made in the objective criteria based on "seniority, service record and the experience in anti-corruption/investigation" areas.

Kharge has objected to Shukla's selection as the CBI chief, saying officers without relevant experience of handling corruption cases should not have been considered for the post.

On the contrary, Singh said, "we have reasons to find fault in the manner Kharge is conducting himself in meeting after meeting violating all the norms of propriety by speaking to media and giving his own version of deliberations happening in the high-powered panel's meet".

"Not only this, in his frequent comments to media, Kharge has gone to the extent of making unsavourily and sarcastic remarks against the prime minister and the government," the minister said.

Singh said one should not forget how Kharge was accommodated in the three- member selection panel by the Modi government.

"Established rules envisaged that the selection panel will have the Leader of Opposition (LoP) as one of the members. But as the Congress did not get enough numbers in the 2014 general elections (to be accorded the status), it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who went out of the way to include leader of Congress (the largest opposition party) in the panel...in order to add further transparency and ensure balance in the selection procedure," he said.

A political party should have at least 55 seats or 10% of the strength of the Lok Sabha for its leader to get the LoP status.

Giving the details of the selection criteria, senior government officials said a list of officers was made to choose the new CBI chief from it.

Among the top three officers were Shukla, CRPF Director General R R Bhatnagar and NSG chief Sudeep Lakhtakia.
| Edited by: Debdeep Mukherjee
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